Today in Christian History

November 8

November 8, 1308: John Duns Scotus, the hard-to-follow Scottish theologian who first posited Mary's immaculate conception (that she herself was born without original sin), dies in Cologne, Germany. Mary's immaculate conception was declared dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).

November 8, 1674: English poet John Milton, author of Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671), and many other works, dies at age 65.

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April 24, 387: On this day, Augustine of Hippo writes in his autobiographical Confessions, "We were baptized and all anxiety for our past life vanished away." The 33-year-old had been a teacher of rhetoric and pagan philosophies at some of the Roman Empire's finest schools, but after great influence by his mother, Monica, and the famous bishop Ambrose, he turned to Christianity. His baptism by Ambrose, on Easter Sunday, marked his entrance into the church (see issue 15: Augustine and ...

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